BROOME COUNCIL CRACKS DOWN ON AIRBNB-STYLE ACCOMMODATIONS
The local authorities in Broome have issued letters of warning to hosts of Airbnb stays and other sharing economy accommodations, telling owners to stop operating or face enforcement action. Hosts have been given until the end of January to cease operating their ‘unauthorised short-stay accommodations’ or else face being convicted of an offence under the Planning and Development Act. The owners also face fines up to $200,000 and, in the case of a continuing offence, $25,000 for each day they continued to operate.
$4.29 MILLION IN LOST REVENUE LAST TOURIST SEASON
A report by the Broome Tourism Leadership Group found that of almost 200 Airbnb listings in the town, 160 were not compliant with local laws. Of those, 78 were entire houses or apartments with no resident present.
BTLG estimated that during the latest tourism season, the industry as a whole lost $4.29 million in revenue due to what it called “non-compliant Airbnb listings”. The group’s secretary, Michael Leake, said these operators were “free-riding the system”, as well as negatively affecting Broome’s residential areas.
BROOME SHIRE COUNCIL’S STATEMENT
“Broome’s an extraordinary holiday destination and attracts major sporting, cultural and business events.
However, concerns have been raised about the number of residential homes being made available for short-stay accommodation.
Local Planning Scheme No 6 controls land use and development in the Shire of Broome and defines different short-stay accommodation land uses and nominates zone where this can be done.
Landowners making rooms available for short-stay use while living in the house is defined as a “bed and breakfast” which can be undertaken from Residential-zoned properties if development approval has been obtained from the Shire.
Landowners making their house available for short-stay accommodation (less than three months in any 12-month period) is defined as a “holiday home” which is not permitted from a Residential-zoned property.
Therefore, any landowner with their whole house available for short-stay accommodation in a Residential zone is in breach of Local Planning Scheme No 6 and risks substantial financial penalties”.
THE CRACK-DOWN HAS BEGUN, WITH THE FIRST LETTERS ISSUED
Further to the above statement, now even those renting part of their property through home-share arrangements will need to seek approval as a bed and breakfast and comply with rules over, for example, parking and swimming pools.
Shire chief executive Sam Mastrolembo said it was recently given a list of addresses and advertising material for a number of alleged holiday homes.
“These landowners are potentially acting in breach of the (local planning) scheme and may also be in breach of other health requirements, particularly for swimming pools, which are in place to protect users of the facility,” he said.
“The shire has recently issued 12 letters to landowners who have been advertising their properties as a holiday home.
“All landowners were provided with the information sheet and advised of the process should they wish to seek approval for a bed and breakfast, which the shire can approve.” Said Mr. Mastrolembo.